Filmmakers worried about amendments to cinematograph law

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Filmmakers worried about amendments to cinematograph law

New Delhi: Last month, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting had proposed a number of amendments to the Cinematograph Act of 1952. The suggested changes recognize long-standing issues such as piracy and certification based on it. ‘age. However, a large number of people raised concerns about the changes, such as the legality and necessity of these changes, as well as the role that the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) will play after the implementation of these changes. modifications.

Currently, films in India receive one of four certificates based on the appropriate audience for the film. These certificates are based on the “age conformity” of the film and are as follows; U (Unrestricted) intended for films suitable for all ages; U / A (Parental Guidance) for films suitable for children over 12; A (Adults) for films suitable only for adults, and S (Special) which is intended for special categories and is rarely used. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting recommended dividing the UA category into three other categories, U / A 7+, U / A 13+ and U / A 16+. “These are significant changes,” said a source from the CBFC. “A lot of people don’t check for age certification when they go to the movies, and as a result, we end up having kids running around in theaters showing movies that are far too mature for them. It’s not just about sexual content, it also includes violence, bad language and substances. Children should not be allowed to watch A-rated movies. There is also an aspect of parental guidance when it comes to age-related rating. Another point in the proposal concerns the granting of film certification in perpetuity, as opposed to the 10-year certification model currently in use.

The government has also suggested adding Section 6AA to the Film Act – echoing a similar proposal in 2019 – targeting piracy. The original 2019 proposal read: “Notwithstanding any law in force at the present time, no one may, without the written permission of the author, be permitted to use an audiovisual recording device in a location for knowingly making or transmitting or attempting to transmit or encourage the making or transmission of a copy of a film or any part thereof. Under the proposed amendment, those caught in the act of piracy can be punished with a minimum of three months in prison, up to three years. A minimum fine of up to Rs 3 lakh may also be imposed, which may be increased up to 5% of the audited gross production cost of the film.

The latest proposed amendment concerns section 6 (1), which would allow the government to order the CBFC to re-evaluate the film and change the certification it previously granted, if the film in question is in violation of the section. 5B (1) of the cinematograph. Law of 1952. Section 6 (1) was found to be unconstitutional and was overturned by the High Court of Karnataka in KM Shankarappa v Union of India (1990), and the ruling was upheld by SC of the India after being challenged in 2001.

“More than 20,000 films are certified by the CBFC each year, regardless of formats, genres and languages, of which just 0.3% are either re-evaluated or subject to dissent or debate,” said Vani Tripathi Tikoo, member of the board of directors of the CBFC. “If the government returns a film for re-evaluation, it will be sent to the CBFC itself. This additional government step will not make the CBFC irrelevant. We cannot look at modern cinema through a lens made in 1952. There needs to be more transparency in the certification process, but the law calls for an amendment.

“The CBFC takes into account all the possible fallout of a film before certifying it and identifies all of the film’s ‘impact areas’, so returning a carefully screened film for reconsideration is extraordinary,” a CBFC source said.

The filmmakers believe the amendments would give the government more power over the film industry and allow them to prevent the release of films they consider to be a violation of Section 5B (1). Many filmmakers signed an open letter to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, suggesting changes to the amendments. Filmmaker Vishal Bhardwaj wrote: “A few months ago the court in charge of the film certification process was abolished. The reason given was that if a filmmaker is not satisfied with the decision of the certification committee or a review committee, he can challenge the verdict in court. Why doesn’t the same reason apply to the allegedly aggrieved audience member having trouble with a movie? Why is the autonomy of the Film Certification Board diluted? What is the purpose or motive behind this? “

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